James Reid opens up about Cebu's Wavy Baby festival, future of his Careless label

Kristofer Purnell - Philstar.com
James Reid opens up about Cebu's Wavy Baby festival, future of his Careless label
Careless co-founder James Reid performing at the Wavy Baby music festival
Philstar.com / Kristofer Purnell

MANILA, Philippines — Three weeks after the culmination of Careless' Wavy Baby Festival in Mandaue City, Cebu, the record label's founder and singer-actor James Reid reflected on the tumultuous turn of events that led to its eventual staging.

In an exclusive email interview with Philstar.com, James shared his thoughts about putting up Careless' first-ever music festival and what the future holds for him and his growing record label.

James called the festival "a culmination of over a year’s worth of blood, sweat and tears" from his team and said he felt "a sense of gratitude, pride and relief" when it finally ended.

"It was a much more difficult process than expected, but at the same time, the support we received from everyone — from the community, our internal team and our co-presenting partners — was  amazing. I can’t believe we were able to pull off something of this scale," James said.

Difficult was a very apt choice of description, as the Wavy Baby festival was hindered by gloomy weather, with rain causing the North Reclamation Area to be all muddy. Festival attendees resorted to wearing boots or plastic bags on their feet, if not seeking shelter in partner booths such as Maya, Marlboro and Johnnie Walker.

It came to a point where Careless decided the festival's first day would be free to the public, while on the second day some ticketholders were given free "plus one" festival passes and received P2,000 worth of free drinks.

As a result of the logistical challenges, the festival line-up was heavily changed, leaving some Cebu-based artists such as Sepia Times, The Sundown, Three Legged Men and Wonggoys unable to perform.

Only Cookie$, Mandaue Nights, and the relatively known rock bands Urbandub and Franco were able to perform from the line-up of Cebu-based artists. Careless and events management company Eventscape Manila have issued separate statements and offered specific apologies to the concerned artists.

"It was a scary and difficult moment for us," James told Philstar.com, as he recounted the weather conditions at the time that caused other major events scheduled around the much-anticipated annual Sinulog Festival to similarly change their plans or even be cancelled.

"But for me, Wavy Baby represented the efforts and hearts of so many people and I knew that I had to push through and make sure that it happened, one way or another," James added. "When we were able to ensure that the safety aspect could be guaranteed, I made the call to stick to our commitment even though I knew there would be several unavoidable hiccups that we’d have to deal with."

James reiterated that his team prioritized safety and complying with local government protocols that were constantly changing, and the hard decisions made indeed got some pushback.

"We accepted that the disappointment caused by these changes was on us and that’s why I felt the need to apologize to everyone, most especially the local Cebu acts. I was particularly sad that we let down several of the Cebu acts, especially because we were so grateful and excited to be part of Sinulog after all these years of pandemic," said the singer.

Related: James Reid, Liza Soberano give tour inside Careless Los Angeles crib

Beyond the complications, James found relative success in the sets of artists that were able to perform, like GOT7's BamBam, former Wonder Girls member Sunmi, The Rose, Pink Sweat$, and a number of individuals under his record label, Careless, including himself.

For him, all that matters is that moment on stage, performing for an audience and sharing their talents with others. "Every single person who performed at Wavy Baby [were absolute] legends and brought their heart and soul to that stage both days."

He also praised local event suppliers and their partners like Maya, which contributed to the Wavy Baby experience.

As such, James is hopeful that Careless' growth will continue at a mind-blowing pace. He confided that he never expected their continuous growth, as reflected by staging their first music festival.

"This Wavy Baby was just the beginning, and I’m proud to say that with all the successes and lessons we’ve gained from this first one, many more are to come in the coming years!" James told Philstar.com excitedly, although he wouldn't reveal his wish list of artists for future projects.

The former "Pinoy Big Brother: Teen Clash" housemate said that even he has absolutely no idea what lies ahead for him after more than 10 years in the entertainment scene. 

"Since then, I’ve just pushed myself forward one day at a time, seeing how far this wild ride can take me. Each day is just an amazing gift to me, a challenge to see how far I can take it. It’s taken me all over the world, creating with some of the most amazing producers and talents on the planet," the artist said.

James ended by saying he feels it's just the beginning and the journey is already so rewarding, "2023 is looking jam-packed with blessings and opportunities, and I can’t wait for all of you to see what unfolds."

RELATED: 'Become my own person': Liza Soberano confirms moving to LA to pursue singing, acting





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